Bernard Tomic has told Nick Kyrgios to ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and challenged his rival to take part in a winner-takes-all showdown worth $2million as the war of words between the two escalated.
The feud between the Aussie tennis stars ignited this week, with Kyrgios telling Tomic he needed to ‘quieten down’ after claiming he was a better player than him.
The latter fired back by claiming Kyrgios only goaded him because he is in awe of what he achieved on the court.
Bernard Tomic (left) and Nick Kyrgios have previously been good friends, but have fallen out spectacularly over the last five years
On Thursday night, Tomic raised the bar even further, saying he was willing to take on his foe ‘anywhere, anytime’ and that he was prepared to put up $1million as prize money as long as Kyrgios agreed to do the same.
‘Put your money where your mouth is or accept that I’m better than you, full stop,’ the 29-year-old told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘Talk is cheap. I’m happy to make it two nil [to me] any time.
‘I’ll put up a million and you put up a million, let’s see who is the better player. Let the public see who is better for once and for all. I’ve beaten you easy before and I’ll do it again. Plus we’ll play on grass so you don’t make any excuses.’
Earlier this week, Kyrgios claimed Tomic was ‘the most hated athlete in Australia’ after his old rival said the reigning Australian Open men’s doubles champion has ‘always been living in my shadow’.
‘The only logical explanation is that I’m his idol. He’s always been in my shadow growing up,’ Tomic said in a video he posted on Instagram.
‘That’s why anytime someone mentions my name to him, it gets under his skin.’
The 29-year-old then bizarrely referenced his long-finished junior career, implying it was clear proof he was the better player.
Kyrgios (second from left) and Tomic (second from right) pictured after winning a Davis Cup playoff for Australia in 2016
‘He knows he can’t re-write history. The records that I set when I was 16, 17, 18, and 19 — youngest slam quarter-finalist at Wimbledon (since Boris Becker), the biggest tournament in the world,’ he said.
‘He knows he can’t change that, he can’t re-write that and he would love to shut me up if he could, he knows he can’t.
‘He knows my style dominates his and he knows he will lose.’
The blast was his reaction to Kyrgios’ claim last week Tomic is now essentially irrelevant when it comes to tennis.
Tomic referenced his successful junior career when explaining why he was a better tennis player than Kyrgios
‘Better in what way? I’ve got a higher career high [ranking]. More money, more wins and give back whenever I can,’ he said to the fan on Instagram who claimed Tomic was better.
‘It’s time for BT to just quiet down. He ain’t even playing anymore. I got years left.’
Kyrgios was far more scathing in response to Tomic’s video of Wednesday night, pointing out his lowly world ranking – he is currently 418th in the world, while Kyrgios is 76th – and lack of support in his home country.
‘Bernard, I didn’t realise it was this bad. I low key feel bad now,’ Kyrgios posted on his Instagram story, highlighting Tomic’s ranking.
Kyrgios then retorted with a screenshot of Tomic’s latest results on the Challenger tour
‘Hit me up if you need me to help you remember how to play. Geezus.
‘Let’s not forget the time I payed for your flight home from Shanghai because you had no money.
‘Hahaha re write history, you are the most HATED athlete in Australia. You are right, no one can take over that,’ said Kyrgios, accompanied by a pair of crying laughing emojis.
Neither of the pair are competing in the French Open at the moment, though both are expected to play in Wimbledon this June and July.
Kyrgios has branded Tomic ‘the most hated athlete in Australia’ after his rival said he’d never be able to match his career milestones
Kyrgios is confident he can give the tournament a shake, recently labelling himself the best player in the world on grass, while Tomic declared in January he could win the title before he retired.
‘I can win Wimbledon. We all know this, I know this — I’m probably a top 10 player in the world on grass,’ he told A Current Affair earlier this year.
‘I will do it, before I retire, I will do it, that’s for sure.
‘Time is running out. I’ve probably got four or five good years and I want to do this for myself […] to finish it off the right way and retire happy and guilt free,’ said Tomic.
Tomic has spent much of the past year on the Challenger Tour, a tier below the ATP tour, while Kyrgios continues to rise up the rankings after starting the year outside the top 100.